Set to release her debut album this autumn, New York (currently Iceland-based) artist Siv Disa has been beguiling our ears for some time now, since first hearing 2019’s captivating ‘moths’.
Ahead of her upcoming album, she has now shared a brand new single. Produced by long-time collaborator Sam and The Sea, ‘Music In The Streets’ offers a dreamy, ethereal soundscape, oozing a majestic grace and glitchy spellbinding splendour. A beautifully hypnotic insight into how Siv Disa is continuing to hone and develop her sound.
We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Siv Disa to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have shaped her as a musician. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch the recent video for ‘Music In The Streets’ at the end of the feature.
Fiona Apple – When The Pawn
Oh where to start with Queen Fiona?! I found her music after seeing the ‘Criminal’ video on one of those MTV ’90s rewind’ shows when I was about thirteen, and got into her first album Tidal shortly thereafter. Every subsequent album of hers has meant the most to me at different points of my life, but When The Pawn remains my favourite. I’ve listened to it straight through literally hundreds of times, so I’m sure Fiona has affected my songwriting style, but I was never consciously pursuing that. Influential albums for me are more about the role they’ve had in my life than anything directly “artistic”. Her lyricism is tied so close to her core that the feelings she expresses become universal; you can’t listen without connecting when something is that earnest. Ages fourteen to sixteen was a difficult time for me as I’m sure it was for others, I had headphones in my ears all the time like a horse has blinders to keep from falling off course. Usually I was listening to Fiona. When The Pawn is a no-skips album, but some important tracks: ‘I Know’ (I can’t think of a song more beautiful), ‘Love Ridden’ (the first song I ever learned to cover on the piano; my crash course in figuring out chords ), and ‘Paper Bag’ (I mean, if you know you know).
Radiohead – Pablo Honey
I was driving somewhere with my dad, going through his CDs when I first put this on. I heard ‘Creep’ for the first time in his truck in 2002 and my eight year old brain was overcome. I remember thinking “wow, this is a good song, why don’t more people know about it?” at the time, which I think is funny. It’s not like I’ve heard it at every open mic I’ve been to since or anything. It got put into rotation as one of “Siv’s car CDs’ (along with ’90s classics from Natalie Merchant, Seal, and Jewel) when I was a kid. I’ve liked Radiohead ever since. My favourite album of theirs is probably OK Computer, but I think Pablo Honey has been more influential. It’s funny, even though I make fairly electronic music, my favourite albums by my favourite bands are often their most acoustic. Apart from the obvious, other favourite tracks include: ‘Thinking About You’ (excellent breakup track) and ‘Prove Yourself’ (fuel for my nascent angst).
The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go?
Another group I discovered through my parents’ CD collection! I have a tendency to find artists I like, then absorb their entire discography before moving on to listening to anything else; I know a lot about a handful of bands and absolutely nothing about anyone else. Thinking back on these albums, I realise the first band I did that with was The Supremes. My favourite Supremes track, ‘I Hear A Symphony’, isn’t on Where Did Our Love Go, but everything that is on this record is stellar. The songs weren’t too hard to sing along with as a kid, which is what first hooked me. Their dreamy ’60s glamour and vocal harmonies sealed the deal. The warmth of all their recording equipment, too, you can’t find on modern recordings. Listening now, I focus on that warmth. I like Motown in general, but the songs written by Holland-Dozier-Holland for The Supremes and The Four Tops are the best. Where Did Our Love Go is my go-to happy music. As you can probably tell from the rest of this list, I don’t really do a lot of happy music. But catch ‘Baby Love’ on? I’m in a good mood. Top Tracks: ‘When The Lovelight Starts To Shine’ (The backing band! The exuberance! Just try not to sing along) and ‘Baby Love’ (Diana Ross’ lead vocals are stellar, and a little softer than some of the other songs on this album. I like her voice the most when it’s softer and you get to hear a little more of its texture).
The National – Trouble Will Find Me
An ex got me into The National, actually (wishin’ you nothing but the best, C). I vaguely knew of them but hadn’t dived in until then; their band name made them blend into miscellaneous sad-boy rock in my head. I used to teach in-home piano lessons and had a lot of time driving from house to house, so I’d pick up CDs and audiobooks from the library – Trouble Will Find Me was one of those. I have bands for all my feelings and The National is great for a numb sulk. The songwriting is impeccable, Matt Behringer’s voice is equal parts miserable and pacifying and that’s really what I look for in singing. Getting into The National helped my songwriting by showing me how beautiful simple, well executed ideas could be. Being a classically trained pianist, I erroneously looked down on structurally simple music earlier on. I’ve tried to go the other direction though, which I’m hoping comes through on the upcoming album. Trouble Will Find Me and Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers are tied as far as favoruite The National album goes, but I think I’ve listened to Trouble more overall. The lyrics are a little more cutting, they’re a little more polished. Top tracks: ‘This Is The Last Time’ (the coda gets me every time) and ‘Don’t Swallow The Cap’ (the entire thing is a bit stream of consciousness, it’s almost like a conversation you get sucked into).
Ex:re – Ex:re
A musician friend of mine, Brett Gleason, turned me on to Ex:re a couple years ago when this album first came out. It’s fantastically beautiful, heartbreaking, and intimate. For what it’s worth: the rest of the songs on this list I’ve known about for years and years, this one is the only new addition that makes the cut. Albums get tied to different times for me – re-listening to Ex:re makes me think of living in New York, crying about one thing while listening to Elena Tonra cry about something else. It’s more of a “stick around and face your problems” album than an “escape” album, which suits me better now than it might have a few years ago. Each of the songs is so well-crafted lyrically, and often touch upon difficult topics. ‘Romance’, for example, I believe is about assault and the aftermath of living with it in our society. It’s an unfortunately relatable topic for many, but not one often given that treatment in music which is frustrating. It’s refreshing to hear a song about love and betrayal from such a difficult perspective, it’s an achievement to be able to relay that. Favourite tracks: ‘The Dazzler’ (a languid, sharp-tongued dream), and the aforementioned ‘Romance’ (but only if you’re ready to be emotionally devastated).
Massive thanks to Siv Disa for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Watch her brand new video for ‘Music In The Streets’ below:
Dreamhouse, the debut album from Siv Disa, is set for release this Autumn via Trapped Animal Records.